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Despite major advancements and lasting impacts in advancing children’s environmental health over the past 20+ years, significant challenges remain. Keeping the rate of progress ahead of the pace of emerging challenges requires new, more interdisciplinary research efforts and novel ways to holistically consider the many complex interactions linking the environment to children’s health and well-being.
One promising research avenue is the total environment approach. This approach recognizes that stressors impacting childhood health and development are encountered across three broad areas: the built, natural, and social environments. Across these three realms, both chemical and non-chemical stressors contribute to children’s growth and development, oftentimes with long lasting impacts on health and well-being.
Two recent literature reviews show how EPA is advancing the total environment model as a new frontier in children’s environmental health research.